Mouse Turning Guide (WoW)  

This guide is meant to aid people who use their keyboard arrow keys to turn in the game, since it has been noted all over the internet that mouse turning is more effective than using the keyboard, especially in PvP. It is also agreed by most long-term players that mouse turning is superior to keyboard turning in most fights in general.

This is also especially helpful when swimming, or while in flight on a flying mount.

This guide is being written by someone who has only used the keyboard to turn, and has not ever played any First Person Shooter games. In order to really learn this method, the best advice is to keep your right hand off the arrow keys. KEEP your mouse hand off the keyboard. Even if you are just in your home town walking around, unless you are in danger of falling, keep your mouse hand off the keyboard, (unless you are chatting of course).

It is written with the basic three button type mouse in mind, the type with two buttons and the center scroll wheel. Tips for using other types of mice will hopefully be included by players who have other types of mice. It is also written with the assumption that the user is right-handed.

Contents [hide]


  • Right mouse button
    • First of all, hold down your right mouse key, and move, or "skate" the mouse to the right. This has the same effect of holding down your right arrow key, although it will change the camera angle as well if the mouse is moved up and down (which is normal for any human). If you skate the mouse to the left, it will have the effect of holding down the left arrow key. At first, you may have to skate the mouse, then pick it up and move it back to the original position, then skate it again. However, as you practice, you'll find yourself doing this less, or with shorter and quicker movements, and will use less of an area with your mouse.

  • Left mouse button
    • Do the same thing: hold the left mouse button down, and skate the mouse left or right. This does not turn the character, but instead turns the camera angle you are viewing your character and her environment from. This is useful to be able to look around and behind you while you are running. See Movement, below.

  • Middle mouse button (scroll wheel)
    • This moves the character forward. Holding down both the right and left mouse buttons has the same effect, so if your mouse just has two buttons, you can hold them both down and the same time to move forward. The best option is to set the middle mouse button to autorun. To do this, hit escape to get to the Options menu, then click on Key Bindings. The first section of the Key Bindings is Movement. Find the one that says "Toggle autorun." Click on the Key 1 button, then click your scroll wheel, then click "Okay." This will bind autorun to that button, so you don't have to use your keyboard to autorun and stop. From then on, when you click your middle button, it will start your character to autorun, and you can click it again to have your character stop.

    • Alternately, the mouse wheel can be bound to other functions for quick access. The mouse wheel can actually serve as three actions: Wheel press, wheel scroll down, and wheel scroll up, which can all be bound to separate actions. In the 'interface options' menu one can set extra action bars to show: bottom left, bottom right, top left, top right. Actions set to these bars can be bound to the three mouse wheel buttons in the key bindings menu. This is useful for actions that need to be used quickly such as the rogue 'kick' ability to interrupt spells or the paladin 'hammer of justice' ability.
Using the ALT, CRTL en SHIFT keys (and combinations like CTRL+ALT), you can bind tons of abilities to your mouse buttons. For example, a rogue can bind Sinister Strike to "wheel scroll up", Kick to "CTRL + wheel scroll up" etc etc. You can combine this with moving forward/backward with the W + A keys, which means your left hand is always in the position to press CTRL/ALT/SHIFT.

  • If you find yourself using a much bigger area for your mouse than you normally do, set your mouse sensitivity higher in the game options.


  • Running and turning in a constant movement
    • If you are in a situation where you are constantly running, and need to turn, just click your middle mouse button or scroll wheel (assuming you have bound it to the autorun function as described above) You will move forward, and, by skating your mouse to either the left or right, can control which way is forward.

  • Running and turning, with frequent pauses
    • If you hold your right mouse button down, then click and hold your left mouse button, you will move forward. If you need to run forward, then figure out which way to go next, and need to pause, hold down the right mouse button, click and hold the left mouse button, and go. When you need to pause, let go of the left mouse button, keep the right one held down, and skate your mouse to the left or right to turn. Then click and hold down the left mouse button to continue moving forward. A good analogy is, if you think of it like a car, the right mouse button steers, while the left mouse button is your gas pedal. The only difference is that when you take your finger off the left mouse button, you stop, instead of coasting forward.

  • Running in Circles
    • You have probably seen players running in very tight circles and maybe you've wondered how they do it. Just click your middle button (scroll wheel), and skate the mouse to the left or right quickly (assuming you've bound the middle button to the autorun function). You can do the same by holding down both the left and right buttons at the same time.

  • Running for a long time to a certain destination
    • Click your middle mouse button, or scroll wheel, and let it go. When you need to adjust your path, just click the right mouse button and skate the mouse right or left, depending on which way you need to adjust your path. When you want to stop autorun without using the keyboard, click the middle button again, or hold down both the left and right mouse buttons.

  • Looking behind you while you run
    • When you are in autorun, click and hold your left mouse button, and skate the mouse to the left or right to look behind you.

  • Strafing
    • An alternative to turning your character while running to adjust her path is to strafe. What that means is that your character moves either to the left or right, without turning. To do so, hit your "q" to move left, or your "e" to move right. While this is not using your mouse, it uses the left side of your keyboard, which leaves your right hand free for your mouse, making it relevant to this guide.


Swimming is hard to describe, because it is a very fluid movement which involves more dimensions than simply running around. As with running, you can either hold both mouse buttons down, or use the middle one if it's bound to autorun. Then, when you want to go up to get air, you skate the mouse up, or away from you, and to go down, you pull the mouse toward you. You can go right or left while also going upwards or downwards. The best thing to do is find a good spot to practice, and just practice a lot. It's very frustrating to suddenly be in the middle of a fight, especially if you are with a group of people who make swimming seem so effortless, and be floundering around and going all over the place. So, the three P's apply here: practice, practice, practice. If you can find a warlock friend to help, that is the best possible scenerio, since they have the Unending Breath spell, which can keep you from drowning if you get hopelessly lost under water, especially if you want to practice in deeper waters.


Mouse sensitivity is important here, especially if you are in PvP, or fighting mobs which are coming from different directions. You want to be able to click the right mouse button and skate your mouse either left or right and be able to turn around quickly to target your foe. Once again, this is something that takes practice, so it's best if you are close to a graveyard when you are doing this. Low level battle grounds are also a good place to practice, if you don't get embarrassed easily, because they require quick thinking. Once you're able to move around town, and fight a mob or two with your newly learned mouse skills, try out Warsong Gulch or Arathi Basin. This will help you learn to think quickly on your feet, using your abilities, etc, while also using your mouse to turn and move with. Battle grounds are very serious business for some people, but, at the same time, you will probably get good at using your mouse very quickly in a situation like this, and if it is too frustrating for you, just switch back to the arrow keys until the battle is over, and try again later.


Take some time when you are doing something leisurely, or nothing at all to practice. You will need some time to get used to it. You don't want to practice in the battle grounds, or while doing a quest that involves killing mobs you can't one-shot.

You mostly want to practice in spots where you won't die, in the beginning. These would be spots where there are not mobs to run into, and cliffs to fall off of. Find a place where you can run in a straight line. Run straight, then quickly turn and run the opposite way. This is the best way to see how efficient mouse turning is, when you see that you are not running in a wide arc to turn and run the other way, as you would when using a keyboard to turn.

Another good place to practice is shallow swimming holes, such as the pond in the middle of Thunder Bluff, or in a swimming place that is free of mobs, such as many places right offshore with no murlocs around.

As you get used to moving around, you might want to try more risky areas to practice in, such as around staircases where, if you fall, you might take damage, but not die. One good spot is to run around in the Pools of Vision in Thunder Bluff.

Later, you may want to start fighting either in duels or with mobs that aren't a huge risk to you. Of course, if you get in a bind, you can always resort to the keyboard for turning.

Other Mouse Types

Tips for Left-handed Players

From Chancresore:

Here is how I do things as a lefty. First of all, the Gods hate south paws. There is only one worthwhile lefty mouse on the market (that I am aware of) and it's the Logitech MX610. I cannot recommend it enough. I have one at home and work. It almost makes me feel like a real person having a mouse contoured to my hand :'(

I digress.

The way I do it is I have Mousewheel Up for autorun. The only real problem I have with this mouse is the way the wheel is located I have a hard time not scrolling when middle clicking. Therefore, mousewheel up.

When not autorunning, I use the both click method, or I use the arrow keys. The nice thing about the arrow keys is that they are close to Ctrl and Shift. Since my mouse has 5 buttons that I use for WoW I effectively have 10 buttons with the modifiers. That makes strafing with the arrow keys pretty easy.

This is coming from a lvl 70 Shadowpriest whose first entry into PC gaming was WoW.

Tips, Tricks and Other Awesome Random Info

  • As with any type of long-term computer activity, make sure to take care of your health. When starting to learn to turn and play with the mouse, it is easy to become tense and it's possible to do damage to your hands, as well as the rest of your body. Take frequent breaks, get some fresh air, and follow these exercises to help prevent injury.

  • Mages can see around them while in Ice Block while using the left mouse button to turn the camera angle!

Special Thanks

Special thanks go to the many members of the Allakhazam WoW Forum for help with this guide and all the other WoW wiki articles on this site! :)

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This page last modified 2009-06-08 09:48:04.